Football Diary: Use rice to tackle injuries

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MORE sportsmen and women are succumbing to injury and football poses the main danger, according to a survey of physiotherapists. Knee problems topped the list followed by injuries to the pelvis and lower back with foot and ankle damaged. External forces, like tackles, being the biggest cause. Self-help prior to seeing a physiotherapist took the form of the RICE procedure (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) in 72 per cent of cases, but 43 per cent used over-the-counter treatments, good news for the sponsor of the survey which makes, among other things, a magic spray. Only eight per cent of the injured resorted to self-massage, which is just as well. It doesn't do you much good.

IN this age of flashing cards it might be difficult to feel sympathy for referees, but have a heart, the Premier League is on their case, too. Referees have to attend get- togethers to consider how things are going and there is always the possibility of being taken off the list of officials. There are no excuses for skiving off, not even, as one poor soul discovered, your wedding anniversary. Sounds like a red card offence to me.

AFTER Coventry's latest defeat, at home to Aston Villa, Phil Neal compared his side with the disaster-prone TV soap village of Emmerdale. As the Sky Blues' manager evoked the spectre of plummeting aircraft, his striker Mick Quinn was earning pounds 250 as Sky's summariser at the match.

Nothing wrong with that, you might think, except that Neal had fined him a week's wages and dropped him after his sending-off at Blackburn. All in all, it was a worse day for Coventry than for Quinn, whose horse, aptly named Sumoquinn, had earlier scooped pounds 3,500 for winning the 3.20 at Chepstow.

WINNING the contract to build one of the many new stands going up at grounds has one drawback. Only employees are allowed on the site, which means that during matches clubs cannot put ball-boys or girls in the area. That role falls on building workers, but there was not universal enthusiasm for that task at White Hart Lane until Spurs signed Ilie Dumitrescu and Jurgen Klinsmann. Now the hard hats are forming an orderly queue.

RESIDENTS of the 3,000-year- old city of Van, in south-east Turkey, are convinced that the promotion of Vanspor to the Turkish First Division will lift the declining fortunes of a region where industry is in a slump and tourists have been scared off by the danger posed by Kurdish separatists. But a nearby town intend to zap Van's new publicity weapon by getting their own team promoted. That town's name? Batman.

A testimonial for Eamonn Dolan, in which Exeter will play West Ham, is not another case of a player trying to cash in. Far from it. Dolan, who played for the Hammers and Birmingham before joining Exeter, learned the day after playing in the Autoglass Trophy semi-final in April 1993 that he had cancer, which had spread, and he had to start chemotherapy immediately. The treatment, which involved the use of steroids, hit him hard, his weight ballooned and doctors told him he'd never play again. Exeter released him, but on Tuesday, at St James' Park, kick-off 7.45pm, Dolan relaunches his career after a long, hard fightback.

The creation of musical XI's generated enough teams to fill the Premiership twice over. The usual display of ingenuity produced a Bandleaders' XI and a Crooners' XI. The winner of the Wild Turkey bourbon is Andy Jones of London W2 for his remarkable Musical Jimmys' XI, who all scored on Tuesday:

TEAM: Kerr (Reading / Simple Minds), Morrison (Peterborough / The Doors), Page (Chester / Led Zeppelin), Reeves (Carlisle), Taylor (Brentford), Brown (Charlton), Lee (Hull / Slade), Patterson (Bolton / Dexy's Midnight Runners), Reid (Huddersfield / Jesus and Mary Chain), Purse(y) (Orient / Sham 69), Johnson (Watford / 'and the Vagabonds').

Next week: To complement the recent crooks team, a Legal XI. Entries to: Sports Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.